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New Primary Care Funding

Ontario Connecting More People to Primary Care Teams in Simcoe-Grey

The Ontario government is investing almost $880,000 to connect more people to primary care teams in Simcoe-Grey.

This is part of Ontario’s $110 million investment to connect up to 328,000 people to primary care teams, bringing the province one step closer to connecting everyone in Ontario to primary care.

“Generations of Ontarians enjoyed the privilege of having a family doctor as their introduction to primary care”, said Brian Saunderson, MPP Simcoe-Grey. “We know how important primary care is to families throughout Simcoe-Grey. This investment of $879,753 will connect 3400 people in our area through the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team.”

Ontario currently leads the country with 90 per cent of people connected to a regular health care provider. As a next step to close the gap for people not connected to primary care in the community, the province is supporting new and expanded inter-professional primary care teams in Simcoe-Grey.

This funding will allow the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team (SGB OHT) to work with primary care partners including the South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre, the Georgian Bay Family Health Team and the Georgian Bay Family Health Organization to run designated clinics to support wrap around primary care for unattached patients in South Georgian Bay, including Collingwood, Clearview, Wasaga Beach and the Blue Mountains. The clinics will aim to host an inter-professional team whose scope of practice will support a population-health based care structure for the unattached vulnerable people in our community.

Inter-professional primary care teams connect people to a range of health professionals that work together under one roof, and may include doctors, nurse practitioners, registered and practical nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and dietitians, among others. Timely access to primary care helps people stay healthier for longer with faster diagnosis and treatment, as well as more consistent support managing their day-to-day health while relieving pressures on emergency departments and walk-in clinics.

“This funding is most welcome! We (the SGB OHT) can now hire much needed front line health care providers to address the needs of people who currently have no primary care provider. We will be able to leverage our strong existing relationships and infrastructure to provide access to
“unattached patients” in our region. This primary care access will help to improve the health of our community and reduce demand on acute care services in the region by providing care aimed at prevention and early disease management,” said Dr. Harry O’Halloran, Co-chair and primary care lead of the SGB OHT.

“Our government is making record investments to ensure that everyone that wants to have a primary care provider can connect to one,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “While there is more work to do, giving hundreds of thousands of more Ontarians the opportunity to connect to primary care brings us that much closer to this goal.”

In addition to other historic investments to expand medical school spots and efforts to break down barriers so highly-skilled, internationally-trained doctors can care for people in Ontario, Ministry of Health modelling shows that these initiatives will help connect up to 98 per cent of people in Ontario to primary care in the next several years.

Since the launch of Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care one year ago, the government has been making steady progress to ensure the health care system has become better equipped to respond to the needs of patients and provide them with the right care in the right place, faster access to services and access to an expanded health care workforce.

Quick Facts:

· As a next step to close the gap for the 1.3 million people not connected to primary care in the province, the government is making a record investment of $90 million to add over 400 new primary care providers as part of 78 new and expanded inter-professional primary care teams. The new and expanded teams will include Family Health Teams, Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics, Community Health Centres and Indigenous Primary Health Care Organizations.

· Ontario’s investment of $90 million dollars triples the original $30 million dollars earmarked to expand inter-professional primary care teams and will deliver over four times as many initiatives as outlined in our Your Health Plan almost a year ago.

· The new and expanded teams are the result of a province-wide call for proposals that took place in 2023. All proposals were thoroughly reviewed by Ontario Health based on criteria prioritizing areas of greatest need, to connect a greater number of people currently without a regular primary care provider with these services closer to home.

· Ontario is the first province to have a publicly funded Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic program. This is in addition to the new Practice Ready Ontario Program that will add 50 new physicians this year.

· Ontario leads the country in how many people benefit from a long-term, stable relationship with a family doctor or primary care provider. Since 2018 the province has added over 80,000 new nurses and 10,300 new physicians to the health care system.

· Ontario invests over $1 billion in inter-professional primary care teams annually.

Stakeholder Quotes:

“The South Georgian Bay region has experienced rapid population growth over the last few years, which has placed immense strain on our primary care resources. This funding is greatly appreciated, as it will allow us to expand our primary care team and keep up with the demand from our growing and complex unattached population.”

Heather Klein Gebbinck, Executive Director, South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre.

“This clinic will provide much-needed primary care services to an ever-growing population of unattached patients. The clinic’s multi-disciplinary team will ensure that patients are connected with our chronic disease management programs, and ongoing collaboration will result in equitable access to all residents in our community. As a collective with a demonstrated history of delivering similar initiatives, the community can be assured that OHT partners will have clinic services up and running in very short time!”

Marie LaRose, Executive Director, Georgian Bay Family Health Team